Man vs Bookshelf

Man vs Bookshelf: The Demonata

This entry is part 83 of 97 in the series Man vs Bookshelf

Yesterday was a big day for me.

After the release of my first James Perry novel back in October 2018, I made the crazy decision that I was immediately going to put the next book (at that point in first draft stage) up for pre-order with a release date January 17th, less than three months hence.

Book 1

Given it took me over a year to complete the first James Perry mystery, and even longer to write Poor Choices, this was a rather ambitious target. But fuck it, I thought. I can do this.

I did. But it almost killed me.

With three drafts rather than the standard four, and less time spent on any draft, there were plenty of times I was terrified I would not get this out, or worse, it’d come out, but be awful.

Suffice to say I won’t be putting myself through that again while I’m working a full-time job.

But, I did put myself through it, and it did work.

As of Yesterday (13/01/19) All Your Secrets is listed for pre-order and come Thursday (17/01/19) it’ll be going live, probably to take the world by storm.

Book 2

I hope to release the third James Perry instalment in October this year, and by then, something else exciting will have happened.

Man vs Bookshelf will be over.

Until then, let’s get the next review done.


Darren Shan and Me

I’ve read a couple of Darren Shan books already for this challenge. Stand-alone, The Thin Executioner and first Saga of Darren Shan book, Cirque Du Freak.

Within those, I would have spoken about Darren Shan, but I can’t remember what I said. Go back and check for me, will you? Here, and here.

I might have mentioned that he has been a real inspiration to me. Not only because all of his stories are fast paced, well written, clever tales, but because of what he has done for aspiring authors.

I spent hours and hours on his website when I was younger, reading the author notes he posts for each novel, explaining their genesis, how he writes them, and numerous other tidbits.

He is – and I’m sure I’ve said this before – the kind of author I want to be, should I ever become successful. Not in the way he writes, but in the way he behaves with his fans and helps out aspiring writers such as myself.

But that’s enough of that.


The Demonata

The Demonata is a series of ten YA novels focusing on demons and magic, told from the point of view of three lead characters and across several time spans including modern day, three thousand years ago and even that weird in-between time the 1970s.

As with The Saga of Darren Shan, Shan began thinking he would write one or two books about demons, maybe with the tenuous link of one shared bad guy.

But from small acorns, oak trees grow, or something. After a few first drafts, Darren Shan realised there was something more here, which eventually fell together when he wrote the sixth book, which would ultimately become the second.

I’ve always liked the idea of writing in the way Darren Shan does.

Most authors complete one book, then the next, then the next, even in a series. But working thus can lead to plot holes, if things change along the line, as they are wont to do.

Had Darren Shan worked that way, the Demonata series would never have happened. He would have banged out a couple of quality demon based books but, by the time he realised there was more to be had, it would have been too late, and the world would have been short one fantastic YA series.

Yeah, and you thought Brexit was terrible.

Instead, Shan started working on his first Demonata book while he was still working on his previous series, and was several entries deep before The Saga of Darren Shan was done.

That meant, when he completed his sixth book – the one that would become the second – he was able to go back and rework the previous entries. He went through the whole series, chopping things out, reordering bits and pieces and entire books.

What this left us readers with was a ten book series that is multi-layered, but with the first few novels working as excellent stand-alone novels too.

It’s the kind of series where you won’t realise how many little links there are to later books in the series in the earlier the first few time you read it. It’s only in going back that you see how smart it is.

This has always been one of the strengths of Darren Shan’s work. Each work stands on its own. Is energetic, fast-paced, and well written. But, when put together these works become clever, full-throttle multi-layered series. The kind that will get kids into reading but work for adults as well.

It’s what makes Darren Shan one of the best young adult writers around.


Next Time

Next up we’ll be looking at Danny Wallace’ series of articles – Awkward Situations for Men

Series Navigation<< Man vs Bookshelf: The PointMan vs Bookshelf: Awkward Situations for Men >>
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International worst selling author Mark Ayre has been writing since before he could pick up a pen (somehow). Recently he is taking the internet by storm with his Man vs Bookshelf Challenge where he aims to read the 210 books on his bookshelf in 210 weeks, reviewing them on his blog and Goodreads along the way. He is also publishing books on Amazon, his most recent being the family suspense novel, Poor Choices, which you can find here.

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